The Landmark Board Preservation meeting held on Wednesday, April 6th took up the nomination of the Guild 45th Theatre submitted by the current owners, Landmark Theatres. While I was ill and unable to attend, I gratefully received the following notes from Brooke Best of Historic Seattle (this great organization is a Wallingford resident!):
The architectural consultant, Chris Hetzel, confirmed that the owners submitted the nomination because they were considering to upgrade the interior to accommodate 4 to 5 screens, but “had no plans” to change the exterior façade. He said that they are planning to submit redevelopment plans but there’s nothing clear yet on anything.
Chris started out his presentation with the statement that the theater has an interesting story and history, but the building doesn’t reflect that due to substantial alterations/integrity issues. He proceeded to go through and document the extent of changes throughout its history, including the 1970s “Streamline Moderne” facelift.
The Board deliberations focused on the integrity issue and many of the members said it was a very tricky call. A number of them supported the nomination, wanting to “give it a chance” and allow more time to mull it over, in terms of the question of integrity.
There were two other people who spoke in favor of the nomination, including the former theater manager and a woman named Laura Kaufman, who spoke very passionately at length about preserving the building.
The vote was 7 to 5 in favor of nomination. They supported considering the projection room, women’s lounge, and auditorium space. The designation hearing is scheduled for May 18th at 3:30 PM in Boards and Commissions Room L2-80 in City Hall, 600 4th Avenue.
If you were not able to attend or submit comments, there is still time to share your thoughts and impact the future of this neighborhood icon. As a citizen and neighbor, your voice matters.
You may send comments by email to Erin Doherty, Coordinator, Historic Preservation Landmarks Preservation Board by 3:30PM on Tuesday, May 17th. Below are helpful guidelines on how to frame your comments. You can also find more information on the Landmark Preservation Program website.
In order to be designated, the building, object, or site must be at least 25 years old and must meet at least one of the six criteria for designation outlined in the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance (SMC 25.12.350):
a) It is the location of, or is associated in a significant way with, a historic event with a significant effect upon the community, City, state, or nation; or
b) It is associated in a significant way with the life of a person important in the history of the City, state, or nation; or
c) It is associated in a significant way with a significant aspect of the cultural, political, or economic heritage of the community, City, state or nation; or
d) It embodies the distinctive visible characteristics of an architectural style, or period, or a method of construction; or
e) It is an outstanding work of a designer or builder; or
f) Because of its prominence of spatial location, contrasts of siting, age, or scale, it is an easily identifiable visual feature of its neighborhood or the city and contributes to the distinctive quality or identity of such neighborhood or the City.
In addition to meeting at least one of the above standards, the object, site, or improvement must also possess integrity or the ability to convey its significance.